Come to think of it, I personally know dozens of professional photographers, but I honestly don’t know a single photographer in the world that prays for terrible weather. I know I don’t.
But what happens when you plan for weeks on a beautiful day for a beach shoot, and instead the heavens open up?
You think on the fly, and still make some magic, that’s what.
On my last trip to Charleston, I encountered this very situation. Instead of calling it quits and calling off the shoot, I continued to plan with my model, Sarah Dionna, and asked her to bring an umbrella.
Sarah not only brought the umbrella – she also brought her ‘game face.’ And for that, I’m grateful.
It’s taken me the better part of a decade, but over time I’ve learned to prepare for the worst-case scenarios, no matter what.
Driving to Charleston for my ‘vacation,’ I told myself I didn’t have space in my car for the studio strobe lighting kit. Still, going with my better judgment, I took the extra time to play Tetris in my trunk, and found some room for it.
I was so glad I did.
The minute I arrived in Charleston, the forecast for the next two days took a turn for the worse, and it was clear that what I had planned to be a ‘sunny beach shoot with a beautiful model’ shoot, was quickly turning into a ‘Robert, how quickly can you think on the fly and still produce deliverable images’ type of shoot.
When you rely 100% percent on the ambient light of your surroundings, you become reliant on ‘good’ weather conditions, to produce acceptable lighting, backgrounds, and ultimately, images.
But when you learn how to shoot with lighting that you yourself generate on-command, be it continuous lighting or flash, you gain back some of the control from the environment. During a rainy or cloudy day, you become a lot more in-control of your shoot, and the images you deliver.
Here, I used my strobes to create a moody dramatic lighting piece that actually embraced the cloudy skies. Without lights, I would have never been able to simultaneously light the model, and capture the anger of the skies – and definitely not at midday.
I learn something from every single shoot. From this shoot, I learned to never give up.